Food, part 1 (Tuesday, 2010 October 5)

October 5, 2010

I thought I’d share some pictures of some stuff I eat. I went shopping market-day-before-last (last Sunday?) and photographed some stuff.

First: Prunes.

"Prunes" is just the French name for them; in Anglophone Cameroon, they’re called "plums" (since prune means "plum" in English). Of course, they only look like plums. They are, indeed, the fruit of some tree, and they do have a fairly large seed in the middle. But the similarity ends there. I tend to buy a lot of these because they’re fun and easy to prepare. They’re usually the size of the larger ones but the shape of the smaller ones (pretty round). They vary from very dark purple to reddish-rose. They get darker as they ripen, I think.

In general you boil them:

Then you bite into them, eating the flesh surrounding the seed in the middle (sorta like a miniature avocado). They’re a little bitter. I took a bite out of this one, and you can barely see the seed, which is the sepia-toned thing in the middle:

Heads of cabbage. Small are 50 CFA. Also pictured are 300 CFA worth of "legumes", which is the generic catch-all word for leafy green vegetables which may not have names in French.

Plantains are, of course, totally awesome. I think it’s possible to buy them one at a time, but more common is to buy a main, "hand", which is at least five, or a whole regime, which is literally a "bunch", but — it’s sort of like if you bought grapes by the grapevine instead of by the bunch. Bananas and plantains fruit in clusters of probably up to a hundred or so, and that costs about 2000 CFA.

I haven’t bought any plantains since I had to eat my way through a very ripe regime in about a week.

Spaghetti sandwich. School days there are these mommies with stalls just outside of school grounds, and there’s usually one or two with bread and things to "charger", load, the bread with. Spaghetti is one of the more common options.

Fruit. These are both called "passion fruit". The one with the brown/purple shell, you cut open and slurp out the seeds/pulp. You swallow the seeds without chewing them. The reddish one is soft, and you cut off the tip and squeeze the bulb, which causes a sweet liquid/seed/pulp substance to come out (which you also swallow without chewing).

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